Archive for April, 2012
Apr 30th - 8:54 pm
Tuxedo Park Mayor Tom Wilson is one of five Democrats trying to unseat Congresswoman Nan Hayworth. And while he does not have the fundraising advantage, he does feel he stands out from the other candidates.
Apr 30th - 8:53 pm
College students and recent graduates took part in a weekend-long conference in Albany, and wrapped it up with a march on the capitol. They delivered a petition against hydrofracking. But the event also served as a reminder of the power of young voters. Laura Smith and K.C. Alvey, who helped organize the march, explain.
Apr 30th - 8:52 pm
Monday, the senate voted to ban synthetic marijuana. Senator John Flanagan says it’s a dangerous substance that can lead to violent outbursts, and should not be accessible for teens.
Apr 30th - 6:10 pm
New York Racing Association President and CEO Charlie Hayward, along with General Counsel Patrick Kehoe have been put on unpaid leave pending further review as the controversy surrounding the incorrect takeout rates grew today.
“NYRA takes the matters identified by the Franchise Oversight Board and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board extremely seriously,” said NYRA Chairman Steven Duncker. “NYRA will take all appropriate steps and actions to cooperate with the State’s inquiries and insure the integrity of our operations. As part of these efforts, we will respond to Chairman Megna’s letter as requested by May 4th. NYRA has worked diligently over the past number of years to improve the racing and agricultural industries in New York State and enhance its national status as an industry leader, and we will continue with that commitment.”
A preliminary report issued Sunday from the state Racing and Wagering Board found the association, a public-benefit corporation, knowingly withheld nearly $8.6 million and may have violated the law.
Hayward, a familiar face at the state’s racetracks, had initially said the incorrect takeout rates from the gambling winnings had been an oversight, but later told the publisher of The Daily Racing Form “political forces” played a role in stopping him from taking further action and waited after pressure from the Cuomo administration.
The matter has been referred to the state inspector general’s office.
Earlier today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the report “shocking.”
“If the facts are correct, it’s very troubling to say the least,” the governor said at a Red Room news conference. “It’s been referred to the inspector general and we’ll await the report.”
Apr 30th - 5:56 pm
Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a possible mayoral candidate next year to succeed Michael Bloomberg, stormed out of a news conference on the passage of the Living Wage Bill that the mayor opposes.
The dust up occurred after an advocate standing behind Quinn called the mayor “Pharaoh Bloomberg” — a moniker that was too much for the speaker.
“That’s not appropriate. You stand here talking about democracy and wanting to listen. We do not have a right to call them names.”
She then congratulated the advocates who had fallen silent after the outburst and left.
“I’m just not going to participate.”
The walkout comes after NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is gaining buzz — mostly from The New York Post — that he would be a strong Republican candidate for mayor (though a Daily News poll showed Quinn beating Kelly handily).
Bloomberg and Quinn have had a notably close relationship over the years — a bond that the speaker most likely hopes would result in help come 2013.
Apr 30th - 4:54 pm
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn stormed out of her own press conference when a pro-living wage supporter called Mayor Bloomberg a “pharoah.”
The man who made the “pharoah” comment, retiree Carlos Pacheco, said it was a “mistake,” but added: “But, as a citizen I have freedom of speech. If (Quinn) was really behind us she wouldn’t have left. She put on a show for us today.”
The (watered down) living wage bill was passed overwhelmingly by the Council, 44-5.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly moved from having “no plans” to run for mayor in 2013 to “still contemplating” a potential run.
Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are making a joint appearance at a NYC firehouse tomorrow to mark the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.
…It will be the first public meeting of the two Republicans in this election cycle.
Would Romney have given the order for bin Laden to be killed: “Of course. Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
How to tell New York is really NOT a GOP player: The state’s delegation will be bunking with Puerto Rico and American Samoa very far from the convention site in Tampa, Fla.
Four NYC Council members filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city for its response to the Occupy demonstrations, alleging the NYPD used excessive force and violated free speech rights as part of its crackdown on protesters.
Estimations on how many jobs fracking will bring to New York (if it’s allowed in the Marcellus and Utica shales) vary wildly.
George Demos’ second TV ad deems the overseas job creation record of his GOP opponent, Randy Altschuler, “despicable.”
Albany County Legislature Chair Shawn Morse appears poised to primary Sen. Neil Breslin and has signed Red Horse Strategies to work on his campaign.
The Assembly passed GENDA for the fifth time.
Romney’s list of frenemies is growing.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie isn’t interested in being VP, but thinks Romney might be able to convince him otherwise.
Cuomo proclaimed May 6-12 “arson awareness” week.
The Post-Star is going behind a pay wall.
Here’s state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs putting fellow Long Islander, Rep. Pete King, on notice:
Apr 30th - 4:54 pm
The Republican-led Senate approved a measure that would ban the sale of so-called synthetic marijuana, a move that lawmakers say is aimed at stemming a growing epedemic in the New York City suburbs and North Country especially among teeangers.
Here’s the Q and A from a news conference on the issue before the measure was passed by the chamber:
The bill essentially criminalizes the possession of the fake pot, with penalties for the sale and possession of synthetic marijuanan and “bath salts” would be akin to possession of regular marijuana and methamphetamines.
Sales to a teenager on or near school grounds would mean a felony charge and up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Lawmakers say the bill would also create the Statewide Synthetic Cannabinoid and Substituted Cathinone Surrender Program, which would provide a three-month grace period of allowing individuals to voluntarily turn over products containing synthetic marijuana.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year approved a bill that banned the sale of what are termed “bath salts” but used for recreational drug purposes and the state DOH last month banned the sale and distribution of synethic pot, but the act didn’t address the possession of the substances, which can still be purchases outside New York or over the Internet.
The bill is carried by Assemblyman Michael Cusick, D-Staten Island, but its fate in that chamber remains unclear.
Apr 30th - 4:25 pm
During an extended sit-down interview with Diana Williams that aired yesterday, Rep. Charlie Rangel said speculation that he’s running for another term with an eye toward retirement halfway through and hand-picking his successor is “flattering.”
The veteran Harlem pol insisted “anyone that knows me – which includes reporters – would know that I would not know how to do something immoral,” adding (at about the eight-minute mark):
“People who say this, in a sense it’s flattering, because there’s nothing else that they can create as to why I shouldn’t be running and winning except: I don’t think that as good as he is that he’s going to really share that time with us for two years.”
“And the truth of the matter is that if I have integrity, and that hasn’t been challenged, if I was to do something that immoral, where would I go? Nicaragua? Would I go to Europe? I mean, this is integrity that’s on the line. So, when they challenge it with no reason to do it, it’s so you would raise the question.”
“And I guess, in a sense, I’m glad you raised it…It would be in shame and disgrace that I would do that to people. And I wouldn’t do it. So, how many different ways do you say that’s not so? And there’s absoltuely no evidence from anybody.”
When Williams pressed Rangel, asking if he’s promising and guaranteeing to serve out the full term if he’s re-elected, Rangel replied:
“There is no question. If there’s anything within my power physically, and I have no reason to believe that there’s anything that would deter that, I am anxious to complete the work that I think the Obama administration has to do. And the opportunity to just let this go by, I think, would be unfair to my constituents.”
Apr 30th - 2:49 pm
Joe DioGuardi, the former Westchester County Congressional representative who lost to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010, today endorsed Republican hopeful Wendy Long.
“Our nation is in a fiscal crisis unsurpassed since the Great Depression,” DioGuardi said. “We need bold and decisive action in Washington if we are to put Americans and New Yorkers back to work. Wendy Long is a fiscal conservative who will fight to cut spending, lower taxes, and shrink the ever growing national debt. But, most importantly, she is the only Republican who can defeat Kirsten Gillibrand, and that is why I am endorsing her for U.S. Senate.”
DioGuardi narrowly won a three-way Senate race against economist David Malpass and Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman.
He was soundly defeated by Gillibrand, who was running for the remainder of Hillary Clinton’s six-year term, 63 percent to 35 percent.
DioGuardi’s campaign achieved some minor buzz outside of New York due to his daughter, Kara DioGuardi, was at the time a judge on American Idol.
Long is in a three-way primary herself this time out, running against Rep. Bob Turner and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.
Apr 30th - 2:26 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today appointed a commission that he’s tasking with putting together an “action plan” for overhauling the state’s pricey education system.
The panel is composed of advocates, business leaders and union members.
Cuomo said he wanted a plan that could be converted into legislation and passed.
“I don’t want a plan that just sits on a shelf,” Cuomo said.
But commission members, led by former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons, at a news conference earlier this morning did not provide any concrete areas of where they would like to see improvements.
Parsons, responding to a general question asked by Karen DeWitt of Public Radio if there were any areas of needed improvement in the education system, noted the commission was just getting underway.
Later, Cuomo echoed that sentiment, deflecting specific questions, such as whether the commission will look at charter school spending, tax credits for private schools and standardized tests.
“They have an open-ended agenda,” Cuomo said. “They can look at anything that is necessary.”
The governor did note that the commission won’t be dealing with the question of disclosing teacher evaluations, an increasingly contentious issue for the state’s teachers unions.
Cuomo said he wants the disclosure issue resolved by the end of the legislative session, which concludes June 21.
“The commission is operating on a different time frame,” Cuomo said. “I would hope to have some answer to the disclosure of teacher evaluations sometime by the end of session.”
But generally speaking, should the commission look at the evaluation issue?
“I think this commission should really look at an evaluation as a tool and how you can improve upon it,” Cuomo responded.
A news release sent out after the press conference gave more specifics, saying that the commission would address school spending and performance, efficiency in spending and the wealth divide between districts, along with how best to use teacher evaluations.
Next to health care, New York spends the most of its money on education, a fact that Cuomo frequently notes alongside with the low test scores for standardized tests and 73 percent graduation rate. The governor sought to get a handle on local school spending by pushing through a tax cap for municipalities and school districts.
The cap is in its first year in use for school districts.